Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ron Howard & Francis Bavier… Pinehurst, NC 1988

AKA: “Opie” and “Aunt Bea”

In the 1960’s “The Andy Griffith” show dominated the TV scene and re-runs are still popular today. “Aunt Bea” was portrayed as a sweet elderly lady who loved nothing more than providing her two men (“Andy” and “Opie”) with her home baked goodies.

It is interesting to note that, in 1972, Frances Bavier (“Aunt Bea“ from the show) retired and bought a home in Siler City, NC ... a rural area that closely resembled the fictitious town of Mayberry portrayed in the TV series.

In 1978 our family moved to North Carolina and I got a job as a secretary in the ER of the large hospital in Pinehurst, NC, fairly close to Siler City. About 10 years later “Aunt Bea” suffered some medical problems that were serious enough to have her hospitalized and she spent 6 days in our facility. I never saw her but the scuttlebutt had it that she was a difficult and demanding patient. This was no surprise since I’d often read that her co-workers thought of her in the same way.

The one member of the cast who seemed to be able to placate her was Ron Howard (“Opie”). Rumor had it that he was in the Pinehurst area to see her and, sure enough, he showed up at the front desk of the ER asking for her room number. (Of course we were thrilled to give him the info and didn’t tell him he’d come in the wrong entrance!)

One of the secretaries asked him for an autograph and he promised to bring in a stock photo with his signature the next day ... which he did. He was just there for those two days but the nurses on “Aunt Bea’s” floor reported that his visit was a great boon for them. He was able to calm her down and she became a much more pliant patient.

Looking back on this memory I can’t help but see the irony of it. Here was “little Opie” turning the table on his old “Aunt Bea”. It was his turn to dish out just what she needed ... common sense and a big helping of love.


Blogger kenju said...

I have always thought he must be a wonderful person. It is nice to know that he is - or was that time. How nice of him to come and visit her.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous said...

Hi Ginnie. I saw your name on the GabbyGeezer's blog. Then I saw you were from NC. I I spent part of my childhood there, in fact we lived in Souther Pines and Aberdeen at different times. When we lived in High Point, my parents saw Andy Griffith at a local Club in Greensboro, doing his "Big Orange" and "What it was was Football" skits. That was a long time ago. Dianne

1:05 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

That had to be exciting for you Ginnie, I too loved the show! I also heard of Francis Bavier's difficult demeanor. Love Di ♥

4:34 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Ron Howard seems like a good fellow. Aunt Bea seemed like a busybody. You have had a lot of interesting times, Ginnie.

4:21 AM  
Blogger Hughes ap Williams said...

I had also heard that "Aunt Bea" didn't always get along with the rest of the Mayberry cast.

Thank you for spelling it "Bea". I have noticed over the years that it was often spelled "Bee" which never made sense to me as her name was "Beatrice."

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:01 PM  

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